Sports

Teehan Elected Vice Chairman Of Leinster GAA Council

Thursday, 2 February 2017

PAT Teehan took a major step up the GAA administrative ladder when he was elected vice chairman of Leinster Council at their annual Convention, which took place in Carlow last Saturday.
The Coolderry man was a very comprehensive and impressive winner of a three way contest with Syl Merrins of Kildare's and Meath's Conor Tormey.
He was elected on the first count on 46 votes with Merrins having 26 votes and Tormey on 13 votes. It meant that a second count wasn't necessary and it represented a stunning triumph for the former Offaly GAA chairman.
He will now serve as vice chairman for three years before becoming the new chairman in 2020. He will work as vice chairman under the chairman, Carlow's Jim Bolger as he learns the ropes.
Chairman of the Leinster Council is one of the top positions in the GAA and it is the biggest of the four provincial councils - many of its former chairmen have gone on to the top position in the GAA, the president, including the only Offaly man to hold that office, Tullamore's John Dowling.
For Teehan, it comes on the back of decades of devotion to the GAA. After coming home from Dublin in 1991 to live in Birr following decentralisation of some of the Department of Education to Tullamore, he quickly became involved in the Offaly GAA County Board.
He become PRO in 1992 after the resignation of Daingean's Noel McCann, winning a vote to take a position that he held until 2004. He was a very hard working and efficient PRO, serving during a time when the GAA embraced modern information technology and this changed the way they carried out their communications.
In Dublin, prior to moving back to his home county, he had been chairman and secretary of the Offaly Association there and it was only natural that he would pursue a GAA path as he was following in a proud family tradition here. His late uncle Paddy Joe Teehan (the Offaly U-21 hurling cup is named after him) was chairman of the South Offaly Board and a Leinster Council delegate for years, his grandfather, Red Jack Teehan was the first Offaly man to play hurling for Leinster and one of Offaly's legendary hurlers, the late Pat Carroll is his first cousin. His late father Roddy was a long serving treasurer of Coolderry GAA Club and was the club president at the time of his death in 2001.
He didn't play much hurling himself, apart from underage and junior with Coolderry, and on Offaly Association teams in Dublin. 'I was a poor hurler,' he confessed on Monday - his brothers were good hurlers with Noel captaining Coolderry to the Senior Hurling Championship title in 1986 while Tom and John Teehan were on the 1977 and 1980 senior winning teams.
It was at administrative level that he was really drawn towards. He was secretary of Coolderry GAA Club for a number of years in the 1990s and he combined his position of County Board PRO with Offaly Coiste na nOg chairman from 2000 to 2002.
He long coveted the position of Offaly GAA chairman and was twice beaten in contests, first by Gracefield's Tommy Byrne at the end of 2002 and then by Ferbane's Ollie Daly in 2005, before finally fulfilling his ambition when he was elected in 2008 (beating Tullamore's Fergal McKeown), having served as vice chairman from 2005 to 2007 - in this capacity he was chairman of what is now called the Competitions Control Committee.
He was chairman for five years from 2008 to 2012 before stepping aside under the GAA's five year limit on officer's serving in the one position. He became the county's Central Council delegate in 2014 and still occupies that position while he has been involved at provincial and national level for some years now.
Nationally, he has served on national committees under six president's - he was on the PR committee under Joe McDonagh and Sean McCague, the Information Technology Committee under Nicky Brennan, the Welfare Committee under Christy Cooney, the Central Appeals Committee under Liam O'Neill and he is currently chairman of the National Facilities Health and Safety Committee while he has been on a number of Leinster Council committees, including the PR, Competitions Control and Management Committees. He has been PRO of Leinster Council for 2015 and 2016, and announced that he was vacating that position once he decided to contest the position of vice chairman last summer.
He canvassed the province and was thrilled with his success on Saturday. While he had a long term plan of contesting the vice chairman's position in 2020, going for it this year was not on his map until this summer.
'It was something I never really thought about until last summer when the chairman of a county asked me to stand when it came up. I still had a year to run as PRO and had a decision to make on whether to see it out and wait three more years or relinquish it this year, put all my eggs in the one basket and go for it. I thought this was the best opportunity and I went for it,' he remarked.
Having been beaten twice for Offaly GAA chairman, Teehan was pleasantly happy to be successful at the first attempt now.
'I was. You learn from experience. When I went for Offaly GAA chairman the first time, it was a blessing in disguise that I didn't get it. I might have been a bit naive and not ready for it in some respects. It was disappointing at the time but it could have been a wise decision by delegates. You are not entitled to any of those things. If someone doesn't vote for you, they are not voting against you, they are voting for someone else. I had the resolve to get over it and go for it again. It is not life or death, it is a hobby. No matter what position I have held, I have tried to better the association. I never took a decision personally. I am not one to hold grudges, I just move on. Life is too short for grudges or issues with people.'
He elabourated on his decision to go for it now rather than wait for three years. 'The whole scene in the GAA has changed since the five year rule came in with the movement of people within counties. When I looked at the composition of county committees in the province, I was very familiar with the officers. In three years time, I would be gone off the PR in Leinster Council and national committees and a lot of officers in other counties would be moving on. I thought this would be the best opportunity to go for it.'
He is aware of the many former Leinster Council chairmen that have become GAA president but this is not on his horizon at the moment. 'I wouldn't even think about it at the minute. I don't have that ambition, not at the moment anyway,' he declared.
He will focus on the challenges facing the GAA in Leinster over the next six years. 'Unfortunately gates are gone down in Leinster at the moment because Dublin are so dominant. I would like to see counties challenging Dublin. The more money we generate, the more money we have to put into coaching and infrastructure.'
Looking at the urban-rural divide will be one of his priorities. 'The population has increased dramatically in Leinster but it is mostly in urban areas. The decline in rural clubs is a big issue.'
He would like to see more 12 or 13-a-side competitions introduced to help the survival of small rural clubs while he is concerned that the growth in urban population has not been reflected by an increase in playing membership in clubs in those areas. 'Thy are still catering for the same amount of players as a number of years ago. They are losing a lot of players. No new clubs have been developed. I know this can be contentious but the establishment of second clubs in some of the biggest towns is something we have to look at.'
Where clubs are struggling in rural areas, he is a fan of amalgamations but only within parishes. 'Amalgamations are a good thing within parishes but not across parish boundaries. We want to avoid the situation where a whole parish loses it's identity.'
56 years of age, he is married to Frances (nee Dooley from Killavilla), they have three grown children, Ger, and he is very grateful to them for their backing. 'I couldn't have done it without the support of my wife and children,' he said.
Meanwhile Kilbeggan man, Pat Lynagh was elected unopposed as the new treasurer of Leinster Council on Saturday while Meath's Martin O'Halloran replaces Teehan as PRO.

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